The Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains Ash in mist
The 'Blue Plateau'

Where most Blue Mountain journeys begin: from the townships high on the Blue Mountains Range. This long and winding watershed divides the Coxs River from the Grose River, and swells to a high, cliffbound plateau between Lithgow and Wentworth Falls. The plateau bushland is rolling mix of dry forests, swamps, windblown heaths and ferny glens cradled between wet cliffs.

Eastern Mountains

A wild labyrinth of gorges and ridgelines, dry, twisted woodlands, big, clean creeks and yellow sandstone.

Kedumba and Jamison Valleys

That famous, cliff-rimmed view with the Three Sisters, Mount Solitary, verdant deeps and distant blueness. Beyond the maze of escarpment walking tracks lie forests of unmatched diversity and beauty.

Upper Grose Valley

Huge cliffs and big forests. A wilderness between the highways, a wild river with platypus and bass, and Blue Gum Forest: the spiritual home of wilderness conservation in New South Wales.

Yengo

Once-forgotten rainshadow country rich in wildlife, swirling stone and Aboriginal heritage. A wildflowered labyrinth of sandstone ridges and creeks dominated by the sacred basalt summit of Mount Yengo.

Wollemi

The greatest surviving wilderness in the east Australian mainland, a haven for threatened species and home of the Wollemi Pine. A vast tangle of dry bush ridges and winding gorges with ochred cliffs, rainforest creeks and clean water, punctured with volcanic peaks and necks. (For simplicity, this 'Wollemi' gallery takes in all national park areas north of Bells Line of Road, including a section of Blue Mountains National Park.)

Gardens of Stone

The name says it all: both gardens and stone. Remarkable ironstone formations fringing the Wolgan Valley, the Capertee Valley and the nearby Great Dividing Range. Some parts are protected in Gardens of Stone National Park, Wollemi National Park and Mugii Murum-ban State Conservation Area, but large areas are still unprotected - see the Threatened Gardens of Stone gallery.

Kanangra-Boyd and the south

Geological and ecological complexity. A mix of Sydney Basin sandstones, granites and older basement rocks, more than 1000 metres of relief, waterfalls, diverse forests, wilderness and vital city water catchment. Saved from mining and clear-felling in the 1960s and 70s.

Threatened Gardens of Stone

Large areas of this amazing landscape on the western escarpments of the Blue Mountains are threatened by mining, logging and destructive trail bike activity. The Gardens of Stone Stage 2 reserve proposal takes in the pagodas and forests of the Wolgan, Ben Bullen and Newnes State Forests. Open cut coal mines threaten to destroy large areas piece by piece.

Other Blue Mountains

Images from the 'outer fringes' of the Blue Mountains, and places with only limited coverage.

Blue Mountains favourites

A very personal selection....